Join David Hilliard in exploring the dynamic interplay between people and place, building on or learning new environmental portraiture techniques to help you capture compelling narratives through your lens.

Oct 7, 2024 - Nov 25, 2024

Levels: Intermediate, Advanced,
Workshop Fee: $1075
Workshop Duration: 24 hours over 8 weeks (Mondays, 3-6pm ET)
Workshop Location: Online
Class Size: 8

Note: This workshop will be held in a live, online format utilizing the Zoom platform.

Class meets for 8 Mondays, Oct 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov 4, 11, 18 & 25 from 3-6pm ET.

Simply defined, an environmental portrait is an image that depicts a person(s) in a specific environment, creating a tension between “sitter” and “location”. How this subject interacts with this space, whether it be a home, landscape, workplace or other public locale, and how the photographer interacts with both the place and the sitter, are elements that charge this definition and define the experience for us as viewers. In this workshop emphasis will be placed on the specific technical and aesthetic decisions we make with our images. The locations we choose, the sitter’s gaze and actions, focus, depth of field, distance, contrast and color all work in concert to set a mood and imply a story.

What Linda Keeps - By David Hilliard

Home Office Evening Day - By David Hilliard

Bubble - By David Hilliard

The environmental portrait introduces an exciting factor into photography. It places emphasis on the subject’s “environment”; a person in a place, which has some connection to who they are and perhaps what they do…so instead of the sitter being the sole subject of the photograph, elements of the surrounding area become part of that subject and help to further define the moment we are being invited to look at. This space may often set a mood or create an emotional parallel. These juxtapositions help the viewer understand a bit more about the sitter, perhaps implying a narrative. Of course it should be mentioned that oftentimes the photographer chooses to place (or find) his subject within a space that is seemingly at odds with who we think or perceive the subject to be, asking the viewer to challenge expectations of who people are and the world we live in.

Two Bottle Morning - By David Hilliard

The extended timeline of this unique, critique-based workshop also allows participants the luxury of using the workshop feedback to try new techniques and deeply engage with their formal and conceptual concerns.

We will also explore the crafting of artist statements as well as editing/sequencing, culminating in a cohesive series of images based on the themes and concepts of this workshop.

Broken Parts - By David Hilliard

All images copyright David Hilliard.

Past Student Work

Rainy Happens by Michael Honegger
Rainy Riviera…it Happens by Michael Honegger
Pompadour by Jo Ann Chaus
Pompadour by Jo Ann Chaus
Rainy Happens by Michael Honegger
Rainy Riviera…it Happens by Michael Honegger


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Instructor: David Hilliard

David Hilliard creates large-scale multi-paneled color photographs, often based on his life or the lives of people around him.  His panoramas direct the viewer’s gaze across the image surface allowing narrative, time and space to unfold.  David received his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and MFA from the Yale University School of Art.  He worked for many years as an assistant professor at Yale University where he also directed the undergraduate photo department.  He currently teaches in Boston at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and Lesley Art + Design. He also leads photography workshops throughout the country.